Disorder resembling Guillain-Barré syndrome on initiation of statin therapy

Muscle Nerve. 2004 Nov;30(5):663-6. doi: 10.1002/mus.20112.


We report a disorder resembling Guillain-Barre syndrome, occurring on initiation of simvastatin, in a 58-year-old man, who had experienced a similar but milder episode after starting pravastatin 6 months earlier. This case suggests that acute polyradiculoneuropathy may represent a rare but serious side-effect of statin treatment. It also raises the issue of the pathophysiology of acute neuropathy on statin exposure, with a hypersensitivity reaction resulting in an immune-mediated process being possible instead of the hypothesized mitochondrial dysfunction in chronic cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy / chemically induced
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy / diagnosis
  • Simvastatin / adverse effects*
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Simvastatin